When Amazon unveiled the Kindle Fire last week, it was announced DC Comics (part of CNN’s parent company Time Warner) would be providing exclusive digital graphic novels and collections to the device — including legendary stories like Watchmen and Sandman.
Well, now Barnes & Noble is firing back. And “firing back” is an understatement. According to Bleeding Cool, the retailer has instructed their stores to pull every book on the list. You can order it online, but you can’t buy it in store (or kill time reading it in the store). You can’t even special-order it. (Correction: Barnes & Noble emailed us to say customers would still be able to special order the titles in store for home delivery, but there is no in-store pickup).
When I reached out to DC last week to ask them if you could purchase the books via the Kindle App, they responded “Buy it on the Kindle Fire, and you’re able to read it throughout the family of devices and apps supported by Kindle.”
Which means you may only be able to make the initial purchase via the Kindle Fire, then read it on an iPad — though why you would ever own both devices is beyond me.
When I asked the comics publisher if the books would ever be made available on other devices, including B&N’s Nook, a representative said the titles “are currently exclusive to Amazon. We continue to have discussions with our other valued partners as digital is a key growth area for DC.”
That means the company could make other titles exclusive to completely different devices. So if you want to switch to an all-digital comics collection, you may want to stock up on an iPad, a Nook and a Fire. All combined, they have an incredibly low retail price of about $950!
I really thought we were past the platform wars of the ’90s, but it seems these companies are itching to start it up again.
Update: We reached out to Barnes & Noble, and they responded with this statement:
“Barnes & Noble works with thousands of publishers to bring customers the world’s largest selection of physical and digital reading content. However, regardless of the publisher, we will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format. In a few isolated instances, exclusive publisher deals have prohibited Barnes & Noble from selling certain eBooks, preventing millions of our digital customers from access to those titles.
To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms, and not have the eBook available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere, anytime”
That’s from Jaime Carey, Chief Merchant, Barnes & Noble